On Sep 27, 2012, at 4:32 PM, doug foxvog wrote: (01)
> On Thu, September 27, 2012 06:21, William Frank wrote:
>> On Thu, Sep 27, 2012 at 12:13 AM, doug foxvog <doug@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>> On Wed, September 26, 2012 17:03, John F Sowa wrote:
>>>>> Rom Harre:Behind the mereological
>>>>> fallacy. Philosophy, 87(341):329¬Ė352, 2012.
>>>>> According to Harre p 351-2, mereologyís lack of the ability to model
>>>>> contexts has led to mereological fallacies, where contexts are
>>>>> confusingly mixed:
>>>>> ďthe brain is not a part of a person in the way that a grain of sand
>>>>> is part of a beach. It is part of a personís body and a personís body
>>>>> is not a part of that person in the relevant sense.
>>> I would consider this philosophical game playing. I'm guessing that RM
>>> is discussing a person as a "soul", a "life force" or event. I'm not
>>> sure if he considers a person not to be an animal,
>>> or an animal not to have a body as a part.
>> If a body is a *part* of an animal, what is the other part???
> Note that i am responding to the RM quote that says that "a personís body
> is not a part of that person in the relevant sense." His statement was
> part of an argument based on the transitivity of parthood:
> * A brain is part of a body;
> * A part of a body would be part of a person IFF the body were part of
> the person; (02)
IF, but surely not IFF. (if (Part X Y)(Part X Z)) does not imply (Part Y Z) (03)
> * A body is not part of a person;
> * Ergo, a brain is not part of a person.
> Note that in many systems, parthood is reflexive. I mentioned that
> elsewhere. If we accept this reflexive meaning of parthood, there
> need not be any other part. The whole is the maximal part of an
> object under this meaning of parthood.
> But back to your question: "what is the other part?"
> The body would be THE physical part of the animal. A non-physical part
> of the animal would be its "life force" -- or whatever you want to call it.
> When the animal dies, its "life force" ceases to exist, although its body
> may still exist.
> With such a model you can say that the animal ceases to exist when it
> dies, even if the physical part of the animal -- its body -- continues to
> exist. (04)
Take a simpler example. In Lac Leman, near Geneva, there is a wonderful
fountain called the Jet d'Eau. It is simply a powerful jet of water fired
vertically up into the air from the surface of the lake. It resembles a
vertical column of water. Once I was watching it when the pump was turned off.
The column of water did not get shorter: it simply hung in the air for a
moment, then drifted sideways and dissolved into mist. Now, I think it is quite
reasonable to say that at the moment the pump switched off, the *fountain*
ceased to exist, and became simply some water in the air. What made it a
fountain was both the water and the momentum of the water, provided by the
action of the pump. We can argue for ever, and IMO quite unproductively, about
whether the momentum is "part" of the fountain or not, but it is certainly
something real (it can be measured, for example) which is closely and
inherently involved in the fountain's existence *as a fountain*. The world is
not just made of lumps of stuff occupying space: it is also comprised of energy
fields, momentums, pressures, movements and all the other dynamic processes
which animate the stuff in the space. Whether we call them "parts" or not, they
certainly exist, and certainly play a necessary role in how we conceptualize
OK, now someone mention Whitehead. (06)
>> If you want to use "part" differently from English,
> There are hundreds of meanings of "part" in English -- dozens many
> large dictionaries.
>> in which language, a car is *not* a part of the car,
>> nor is a beach a part of that same beach, that is fine, too.
> Here, you are referring to "proper part".
>> *A physical animal that lives and has a body as its complete physical
>> part is a useful concept.
>> ??? So, one part of an animal is its complete physical part, and there is
>> some other part, that is not part of its complete physical part????
> This allows for an animal to have a non-physical part, but does not
> require it. It allows for both sort of contexts to use the more general
>> Also, to explore this ramble a bit, what in the world is philosophical
>> game playing?
> I was referring to:
> ďthe brain is not a part of a person in the way that a grain of sand
> is part of a beach. It is part of a personís body and a personís body
> is not a part of that person in the relevant sense."
>> I guess it must not include statements like *, so, by contrast,
>> maybe it is thinking and expressing oneself very carefully.
> You do not consider * to have been expressed very carefully?
> I intentionally did not preclude animals (including humans) from
> having a soul as a part -- not wanting to step on religious toes.
> An animal that is purely physical is also a useful concept. But
> you will run into problems with people who will not accept that
> Human is a subtype of Animal, using such a definition.
> A general context can remain silent on this issue (which is crucial
> to many people). Narrower contexts can accept or reject non-physical
> parts of animals.
> Also if you posit that an animal is only its body, you
> would need to consider there being two objects: the animal and
> the animal's body, which are co-extensive while the animal is
> alive, but when one of the co-extensive objects ceases to exist,
> the other continues to exist. This can also lead to ontological
> knots. (08)
>> And, why are you guessing what else someone might believe
> I am guessing what he means in his statement, not what he believes.
> I will not attempt to guess if he believes what he says. 8)#
> All language understanding relies on guessing what someone means.
> In this case, the author is being argumentative (stating a person's
> brain is not part of the person), so that the exact intended meaning
> of the words is especially important to understand the thesis.
>> (and I am guessing your guess is incorrect)
>> and arguing about *that* in an email to this forum,
> I am guessing what RM meant when i read only a snippet of
> what could well be a multi-page argument.
> How would you interpret the "the brain is not a part of a person"
>>> -- doug foxvog
>> as you do for some many more rambles?
>> William Frank
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